China is known for gorgeous period pieces (think Legend of Zhen Huan), for not so gorgeous period pieces (uh), for the cutest kids (Dad?), for blockbuster movies like Tiny Times. She is not known for her animation, unless you’re thinking about sheep.
But if you’re not into animated features, the progress that this one animation has made should be a source of pride. Qin’s Moon is China’s first 3D, CG animated wuxia drama, produced by StarQ, a company centered in Hangzhou’s “Animation City”. The first season was released in 2007, with ten episodes of around twenty minutes each. Since then the franchise has expanded to include a web game, and has produced a movie (the first in a purported trilogy, according to a recent interview) that will be released sometime after Chinese New Year’s. Massive improvements in animation have been made since the release of Season 1 in 2007, and the release of season 4 (at 37/38 episodes) in 2012. Meanwhile, season 5 will be released sometime this year. Synopsis and more stills below the cut.
SARFT also passed their proposal for a live-action drama at the end of 2013. This thirty-episode series is to be produced by Tangren.The cast has not been announced yet, but Zhang Jizhong is supposed to direct it.
A little more text before stills!
Qin’s Moon is a historical fantasy type series, rife with anachronisms and references to Chinese culture. It begins with Jing Tianming, who is the (fictional) son of the legendary assassin Jing Ke. Season 1(updated), “The Hundred Steps Flying Sword” starts as he and Ge Nie, a master swordsman who has betrayed Qin in order to protect Tianming escape from an army of Qin soldiers. They go on to meet members of the Mohist sect, including a fictionalized version of Gao Jianli. He also becomes best friends with a young Xiang Yu.
Mozi’s historical reputation as master artisan and carpenter has been expanded to include fantastical mechanical beasts, which face off against those of a descendant of Gongshu/Lu Ban. Season 2 takes place in the Mohist’s Mechanical city, and makes allusions to various aspects of Chinese culture, from star charts to chess. Season 3, the “Hundred Schools of Thought” introduces Zhang Liang and various other members of China’s numerous philosophical sects, from Daoism, to the Yin-Yang, to the “School of Names.” A red-haired, rather creepy version of Zhao Gao and Han Xin debuted in Season 4, “The Ten-Thousand Li Great Wall.” Season 5 was originally titled “The Burying of Scholars and the Burning of Books,” but has since been renamed. The series may be watched in HQ on Youku, though you will need to install Unblock Youku if you don’t live in the mainland (this extension also works for a variety of other websites).
Observe how the animation becomes better and better.
Season 4 was the first to be broadcast online with Youku and Tudou before any television station.The models for each character are constantly updated, sometimes halfway through a season. Season 1 was remade in the season 2 style.